Updated: Oct 3, 2020
Unlocking the power of the SDG 15, Life on Land by Mercy Mbui- Global Schools Advocate 2019, Nairobi-Kenya
The sustainable development goals give countries a much needed responsibility to ensure they address the current challenges faced by all so that there is achievement of health, wealth, education and overall sustainable life on the planet. Life on land would be the ultimate SDG to teach in schools and in the community at large. Favorably so, since all matter that exists, depends majorly on what the land gives. That includes breathable air, food, shelter, minerals and water. The knowledge of the SDG 15 will guide the people on proper ways to take care of the land in which they live in, thus creating a more sustainable future and planet at large. SDG 15 looks at the promotion and restoration of forests, halting deforestation and proper use of land that reverses land degradation and desertification.
The world in which we live in is currently facing a climatic challenge with the already depleted ozone layer giving way to harmful rays of the sun and leading to an increase in ocean levels and melted icecaps on the poles. Moreover, cutting down trees to enable burning of charcoal and firewood has led to a build-up of carbon dioxide gas which in turn increases the global temperature, and subsequently a decrease in rainfall leads to the desert-like conditions that continue to dry up the rivers that are meant to be our source of water. SDG 15 looks at how survival is possible on this very delicate habitat as a whole.
In the school context, learning about life on land can begin in the early years’ stage and across the board to the older students who can understand the complex concepts of desertification and land degradation. Young children of school-going age enjoy the outdoors and this makes the teaching of life on land a superb SDG for them as it has fun elements to them which are: seeds, soil and water. Since the young ones majorly learn through play, engaging them in activities such as seed/tree planting, watering and monitoring not only keep them busy and active throughout the activity, but also keep them interested in their task. Whilst still imploring to the children (the importance of growing trees), they develop an interest and a love in taking care of that which is important for the planet.
The much older students can hold debates and discussions and see how they are contributing to the success or stalling of the goal within the school and also outside the school. This then gives them an opportunity to see how to amend their actions and work towards achieving this goal. Moreover, SDG 15 activities can also rope in the parents, neighboring schools, residents, districts and the nation as a whole who can take part in tree planting activities therefore reversing the witnessed global climate crisis. As the saying goes, a stitch in time saves nine!